AS AN ATHLETE, A COACH, AND A PHYSICAL THERAPIST LIVING UP TO JOHN WOODEN’S WORDS
“A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.” –John Wooden
and cared deeply about giving players the tools to succeed. When I was a high school and college athlete, I had a bit of a cocky streak and often got into “some disagreements” with the officials and opposing players. Fast forward a few years to when I began coaching high school football, and I tried to give the students who played for me the tools to succeed both on and off the field. After 24 years, I’ve coached a lot of players who continued playing football in college and a lot who didn’t make it. As a coach, though, I and the other coaches did our best to give every kid who wanted to keep playing football after high school a fighting chance to do so. There was one player in particular who had a ton of athletic talent. He was highly recruited and should have gone to a D1 college right out of high school. Unfortunately, his academics left something to be desired. He grew up in a rough neighborhood without a lot of money. But it was his grades that kept him from getting a scholarship to a D1 school right away. We knew if he stayed around Sacramento after he graduated, he might fall off track and lose his chance to ever play football again. So, a few of the other coaches and I came together and helped send him to a junior college in Iowa where he could play football. We helped him financially when he needed it. We sent him care packages full of some of the basic necessities. We were there for advice and mentorship. After a year and a half, he ended up getting a scholarship to the University of Nevada in Reno, where he excelled and became a team leader and a good student.
If you’re not familiar with John Wooden, suffice it to say he is a legendary basketball coach. During the 1960s and 1970s, as head coach of the UCLA Bruins, he led his team to a record seven NCAA Division I championships in a row. The closest any other team has come to that record is four wins in a row. During his time as coach, some of his most notable players included Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. John Wooden’s influence as a coach and as a leader spreads beyond just the basketball court, however. His inspirational messages (particularly the one above), first delivered to his players and then to the world through the books he wrote later in his life, impacted me not only as an athlete but also as a coach and a physical therapist. “BEYOND JUST TREATING INJURIES, I GET TO PLAY A SMALL PART IN I was fortunate to have a number of stellar coaches when I was a student athlete in high school and in college. In particular, I think about my high school basketball coach and my position coach when I was playing college football. One, a full-time fire captain, and the other, an ex-NFL player, both were soft-spoken CHANGING MY PATIENTS’ LIVES— AND THAT’S ALL ANY GOOD COACH OR PT COULD EVER HOPE FOR.”
After graduating with his degree, he was able to make it onto an NFL roster for a couple years before ending up in the CFL. He won a CFL championship his first year up north and continues his football career in Canada today. I never minded going above and beyond and helping the kids, whether it be for those players who had a ton of potential like him to play the game into college and beyond or the player who just needed help with school, family, or day-to-day life. Now, as a physical therapist, I hope to live out John Wooden’s words with every one of my patients. I help them accomplish their small goals each day that contribute to their overarching goal of coming back from their injury stronger. Beyond just treating injuries, I get to play a small part in changing my patients’ lives — and that’s all any good coach or PT could ever hope for.
body’s needs and cues, but it goes further than that. As a Harvard Medical School article put it, “In essence, mindful eating means being fully attentive to your food — as you buy, prepare, serve, and consume it.” And that includes focusing on how different foods and eating habits make you feel, both physically and mentally. While this may feel … intuitive ... it’s easier said than done in a culture with consistent and often confusing messaging around what constitutes healthy eating. Even the tried-and-true method of calorie counting has raised doubts in recent years due to inaccuracies in calorie calculations for the nutrition labels and research on how calorie restriction can backfire by changing your hormone levels and even slowing down your metabolism. Kristen Smith, a registered dietitian and the spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says it’s also linked to disordered eating habits. Intuitive eating may just be the antidote. Singer Demi Lovato, who has been open about her struggles with an eating disorder and body-image issues, credits a more mindful approach to eating with helping her overcome harmful eating patterns. HOW DOES IT LEAD TO BETTER HEALTH OUTCOMES? Having a regular exercise routine and eating well have long been known as the two pillars of physical health. When it comes to the latter, intuitive eating helps you create healthy and sustainable eating habits. The upshot is that when you eat better, you’ll feel better. Being attuned to that connection is the foundation of mindful eating. Most of us know that we should eat whole foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables, but feeling the outcome of increased consumption of these foods will help you stick with and build the habit.
HOW INTUITIVE EATING CAN HELP YOU QUIT DIET CULTURE
The concept of mindfulness has fully saturated mainstream culture at this point. Though it’s more likely to conjure up an image of someone sitting cross-legged with closed eyes than sitting at a table looking wide-eyed at mealtime, it’ll serve you just as well on your dinner plate as it will on your yoga mat. WHAT IS INTUITIVE EATING? Eating mindfully, also known as intuitive eating, is trending in the health and wellness world. But it couldn’t be more different from fad diets or other trends like fasting and cleanses, which have restrictive lists of rules and foods to eat or avoid. Intuitive eating starts by simply tuning in to your
PREVENTING CHRONIC PAIN WHILE YOU WORK? THE PROS AND CONS OF STANDING DESKS
Even though standing desks are nothing new, people continue to mull over whether or not they should take a stand in their workplace. Your posture can have a tremendous impact not only on your productivity at work, but also whether you suffer from chronic pain later in life. It’s no surprise that sitting for eight hours a day has been linked to chronic lower back pain — do standing desks solve that problem? The short answer is, well, yes and no. Standing desks do have some benefits and solve some problems associated with sitting down for the whole workday. However, they certainly aren’t a cure-all, and they may even create new problems for serial standers as well. First, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of standing desks from a physical therapist’s perspective. First off, standing desks can reduce the strain on your lower back that comes as a result of sitting all day. Second, standing more while you work engages your core, glutes, and lower back muscles, causing you to burn more calories. Third, standing while you work can improve your concentration and energy levels. Now, for some of the drawbacks. Just because you’re standing all day doesn’t mean you won’t do so with poor posture. Even if you stand for most of the day, you could still be at risk for chronic pain later in life. Standing all day might lead to soreness and fatigue. Plus, having a standing desk also means you’ll need to invest in some supportive footwear.
If you’re still considering getting a standing desk, here are a few tips for how to maximize the benefits, while also negating some of the drawbacks. First, you should alternate between standing and sitting while you work. This mitigates some of the drawbacks associated with each option. You should also remember that standing while you work is not a substitute for daily physical activity. Find time to move around throughout the day! If you believe you’re suffering from chronic pain due to a long career of sitting down all day or from something else entirely, give Campus Commons a call today at 916-927-1333 to schedule an appointment.
A journal is a great tool to track progress and hold yourself accountable to certain tasks and actions — and that’s true for physical therapy as well! Journaling can help physical therapy patients on their journey toward recovery in a variety of ways, a few of which are listed below. KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING. When you journal about your PT goals, think of them as blueprints. The house isn’t built yet, but your goals and the means you use to get there (namely, your daily stretches and exercises) let you know it’s possible. Keeping track of your PT goals in a journal is a means to hold yourself accountable to the recovery process you’ve begun. It’s a means to boost your self-discipline. SEE WHERE YOU’VE BEEN. Journaling doesn’t just lead you to look forward, however — it allows you to look back and see where you’ve been. Oftentimes, especially when you’re recovering from an injury, progress can be hard to detect. However, if you journal your progress each day, it becomes immediately apparent just how far you’ve come, boosting your self-confidence. KEEPING A JOURNAL How It Can Help You on Your PT Journey
LOWER YOUR STRESS. We all lead busy lives. Throw in an injury and an exercise regimen to help it heal, and it can be enough to make you think taking care of your daily responsibilities is impossible — and that inevitably leads to stress. However, if you journal out your exercises and use it to keep a schedule of your exercises, appointments, and other responsibilities, you can go to bed every night stress-free, knowing the next day doesn’t hold any unwelcome surprises. The at-home exercises we give our patients are to help them make a full recovery as quickly as possible. For more information on scheduling an appointment with Campus Commons PT, visit our website at CampusCommonsPhysicalTherapy.com or call us to request an appointment.
TAKE A BREAK
Spring Vegetable and Chicken Pasta Bake
Inspired by TheSeasonedMom.com
Celebrate spring with this easy, tasty, herb-packed pasta bake.
1 cup cooked chicken, diced 1 14-oz can artichokes, drained and quartered 1 cup fresh asparagus pieces
1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped and divided 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped and divided
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1/2 cup carrots, grated 1 1/2 cups uncooked penne pasta 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
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2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1. Preheat oven to 425 F and grease an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. 2. In the prepared dish, stir together cooked chicken, artichokes, asparagus, carrots, uncooked pasta, chicken broth, half the chives, half the parsley, garlic, salt, and 2 tbsp Parmesan. 3. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes. 4. Uncover and stir. At this point, check the pasta to make sure it is al dente. If it’s undercooked, cover the dish and return to the oven until pasta is tender. 5. Remove from oven and garnish with remaining Parmesan, chives, and parsley.
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Living Up to John Wooden’s Words
What Is Intuitive Eating?
The Pros and Cons of Standing Desks: A PT’s Perspective
Why You Should Keep a Journal of Your PT Progress
Spring Vegetable and Chicken Pasta Bake
A Tail That Inspired Thousands
E D A Tail That Inspired Thousands
Winter the dolphin was only 2 years old when rescuers found her with a crab trap line wrapped so tightly around her tail it was cutting off the circulation to her flukes. Unfortunately, this led to the eventual loss of her tail. In most cases, dolphins can’t survive without their flukes. When Winter first arrived at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, her caregivers worried about her overall health. The infection that had taken over her tail due to loss of circulation was spreading, and if it reached her spinal cord, they knew she would die. Fortunately, her spinal cord remained untouched. Winter adapted to her situation, but then a new problem arose. Without flukes, Winter began moving her body side-to-side to swim, which caused scoliosis in her spine. However, an expert created a custom prosthetic tail for her, enabling her to swim normally again without impacting her spine. Since then, Winter has thrived!
The story of what Winter went through, her struggle to recover, and how she fought to live has inspired thousands of people. Children and adults who have lost their limbs or were born with disabilities travel from around the world to meet her. She encourages people
Photo: Clearwater Marine Aquarium
to keep fighting, and many feel that if Winter could overcome her obstacles, they can, too. There was even a film made about her called “Dolphin Tale.” In fact, many of the scenes from the movie were shot at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and Winter starred as herself. The film captures her triumphant story and chronicles how she inspires people around the world.
To learn more about Winter, read inspirational stories, or donate to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, visit CMAquarium.org. And, of course, “Dolphin Tale” is a great film for your next movie night!
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